As millions of people across the country enjoyed barbecues or marched in parades to commemorate Memorial Day, Maria del Rosario Duran had a private, one-on-one meeting with President George W. Bush.
During the 10-minute meeting, which took place inside the White House on Monday morning, the Corona mother talked to the president about her son, Sergeant Alex Jimenez, who has been Missing in Action in Iraq since May 12, 2007.
“I said, ‘Mr. President, the only thing that we ask is do not stop searching for them,’ ” Duran said.
Duran traveled to Washington D.C. for Memorial Day weekend with her youngest son Bryant, 16, Alex’s father Andy Jimenez and Jim Wareing, Founder of New England Caring for our Military (NECFOM) to participate in the Memorial Day festivities in the nation’s capital.
At the meeting, the president spoke to Duran, Andy Jimenez and Bryant - in both English and Spanish - assuring them that the military has never stopped searching for Alex and that his family should continue to pray for him and the other units, according to Duran.
Alex Jimenez was assigned to the D (Delta) Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, NY, and four of his fellow soldiers died that day during the attack.
Alex Jimenez, along with Private First Class Byron Fouty, 19, of Michigan went missing that day, and they have been listed as Missing in Action or captured ever since. Members of the Fouty family also spent the weekend in D.C. and met with President Bush.
During the weekend, the Jimenez family participated in a number of Memorial Day services and Duran even spoke to a crowd gathered near the Reflecting Pool and World War II Memorial.
Duran said it was important for her family to travel down to Washington D.C. and spend time with other soldiers who have served the country with her son.
“Mom they are my brothers,” Duran said about a conversation she had with Alex shortly after he enlisted. “They feel like my family.”